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'Hell of a journey' for Scottish Jonah Lomu


Toby Robson

Edinburgh winger Tim Visser is relishing the chance to play the All Blacks.

Edinburgh winger Tim Visser is relishing the chance to play the All Blacks. Photo: Getty images

EDINBURGH: Tim Visser looks like a lock, speaks like a Dutchman and once dreamed of emulating Jonah Lomu and Tana Umaga.

Hence he's not difficult to spot at the Scottish rugby team announcement where he is about the only person convincingly optimistic about Monday's test against the All Blacks.

Scotland's Flying Dutchman's entry to international rugby has been much-hyped since he scored two tries against Fiji in his Test debut in June.

It was no surprise to those who have seen the left wing dominate the Magners League with Edinburgh, the top try scorer for the past three seasons.

Not bad for a bloke who grew up in the football-obsessed Netherlands and didn't know professional rugby existed till he entered it.

"Rugby's a minority sport [in the Netherlands], but it's growing and participation levels are growing every year with the youth getting into it," he said this week.

"The thing is though it's not professional so there's no real funding for it. That's why the level we are at is stagnant. It's not really moving forward."

So how does a 1.93m, 109kg Dutchman who grew up in a country where rugby is dead in the water, end up playing a test match against the All Blacks?

"My dad always played rugby and I just followed in his footsteps. It was really a family sport, our friends our whole social circle was around the rugby club and I just sort of couldn't avoid it," Visser said.

"It's brilliant. As a kid not knowing there was such a thing as professional rugby and now being in it. Now being at international top level. It's been a hell of a journey."

Visser was plucked out of a sevens tournament in Amsterdam by Newcastle as a teenager and went on to represent England Schools at lock.

But it was watching players like Lomu and Umaga that drew him to the outside backs.

"We used to get the BBC in Holland so we'd watch the autumn internationals, the World Cup and see the Six Nations, stuff like that," Visser said. "We were aware of it, so we could follow most of the top nations in the world.

"Jonah Lomu, back in the day, that's where the whole wing thing started for me, especially on the left, it started being a bit bigger and the hype started. I did start in the back row for a little bit, but didn't enjoy it and ended up on the wing.

"There was [Tana] Umaga and a few other big names, but he [Lomu] was definitely the standout [influence]."

There is a touch of Lomu about Visser's size and pace with ball in hand and he can manhandle his opponents in defence too. He expects he'll be marking Cory Jane and says he plans to exploit his size advantage.

Which is a hint at perhaps his greatest asset for the Scots - his confidence.

"These games really get you going and I tend to perform in the bigger games, so hopefully that will come into play on Sunday," he said.

"You have to respect them, but at the same time it is just a game and whoever executes their game plan better on the day will win the game.

"We have to go in with confidence in our ability and the game plan. We have clear instructions on how to play the game."

So do you think you will win?" he was asked.

"I always think I will win."

Fairfax NZ News

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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